https://insidehmcts.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/02/working-with-others-interview-with-rob-hack-head-of-external-stakeholder-communications/

Working with others: Interview with Rob Hack, Head of External Stakeholder Communications


[English] - [Cymraeg]

How do you respond to criticism that the reform programme doesn’t involve other people in its development and delivery?

I don’t think that’s an entirely fair reflection. Over the past 12 months we’ve put a lot of focus onto increasing our engagement activity, providing greater visibility and more opportunities for people to contribute to and shape the programme. Whilst I acknowledge that there is more to do, I hope this is starting to be felt.

HMCTS is born out of a partnership between the government and the independent judiciary, and everything that we do is accountable to both. More broadly, we work extensively with professional and public court users - and those that represent them - to ensure we put the people who use our services at the heart of the way we design them.

We haven’t launched a single reformed service that hasn’t involved the people who will be using it or their representatives. For example, before our divorce service went live over 1,000 people tested it on real cases and gave us feedback that shaped the final design.

We’ve also carried out over 4,000 research interviews since the programme started in 2016. This helps us to design and test new approaches, as well as understand different experiences of using our services before, during and after those services have been reformed. And we also work closely with a number of charities, including Revolving Doors, to understand what people need who may find it more difficult – reform or no reform – to access the justice system.

HMCTS often talks about the importance of engaging with stakeholders. What do you mean by engagement?

Engagement can mean different things for different people at different times. Its nature will change through the lifespan of a particular project or programme. Our engagement falls into three broad categories.

We communicate regular information and updates, for example through our events programme or newsletter. Through dialogue at various engagement groups, a number of legal professional and public user representatives are able to exchange ideas, insight knowledge and expertise, that might otherwise be missed with a single view of change. Finally, we collaborate with frontline users, giving them the opportunity to test and feedback on new services very early in their design. This includes inviting stakeholders with particular expertise and experience to work with our project teams as part of the ‘agile’ development process.

What do you say to concerns about insufficient levels of formal consultation being undertaken on the reform programme?

We had a full, public consultation right at the start of the programme, which set out the government’s broad approach to reform.

It’s important to remember, though, that formal consultations are just one type of engagement and they are undertaken in specific circumstances. We want to understand as fully as possible the impact our proposals will have on court users. So, for example, we always consult when we’re moving court work out of the local area because we know that this will have an impact on the journeys users take to court. On the other hand, if proposals have a limited impact – for example merging two courts in the same town – a formal consultation would be bureaucratic and unnecessary.

One of the big challenges we face is that we often need to speak to the same groups of people about lots of different aspects of the reform programme. We know this can be frustrating and resource-intensive for them, and we’re doing our best to co-ordinate this better and strike the right balance.

You’ve mentioned the engagement that’s underway. Who are you working with?

Each of our reform projects works with stakeholders relevant to them. This might involve a combination of private firms of solicitors to test a service for legal professionals, such as online probate, or a local authority to design our new public law processes and systems. We also work with charities such as Victim Support or Rape Crisis to help us understand, for example, the experiences of victims and witnesses. And of course, other government departments, such as DWP.

By far the highest number of people we engage with are members of the public. Last year, more than 100,000 people used our digital services – although using ‘live’ services, testing and feedback from real users continues to inform how they develop. We also routinely meet with representatives of different stakeholder groups – legal professionals, charities representing public court users, the media, criminal justice partners and so on, to share our plans and listen to feedback.

How can people outside HMCTS know who you’re working with and stay up to date with the reform programme?


We need to continue improving how we make all our stakeholders aware of the way that we work with others. We haven’t always done this consistently. It’s not that we haven’t engaged with people, but it is true to say that we could co-ordinate and report it back better. In November last year, and in response to the Public Accounts Committee, we set out our approach to engaging with external stakeholders. Lots of what we said we would do is already underway. But we know that we have more to do, particularly around explaining to the wider stakeholder community - and the thousands of people who haven’t been directly involved - how we’ve taken into account the feedback of their peers or representatives.

For a general overview, I’d encourage people to follow us on Twitter and sign-up to our events, newsletters and blogs on GOV.UK.


[English] - [Cymraeg]

Gweithio gydag eraill: Cyfweliad â Rob Hack, Pennaeth Cyfathrebu â Rhanddeiliaid Allanol GLlTEM

 

Sut yr ydych yn ymateb i feirniadaeth nad yw'r rhaglen ddiwygio'n cynnwys pobl eraill yn y gwaith o'i datblygu a'i chyflwyno?

Dydw i ddim yn meddwl bod hynny'n adlewyrchiad cwbl deg. Dros y 12 mis diwethaf rydym wedi rhoi llawer o bwyslais ar gynyddu ein gweithgarwch ymgysylltu, gan roi mwy o amlygrwydd a mwy o gyfleoedd i bobl gyfrannu at y rhaglen a'i llunio hi. Er fy mod yn cydnabod bod mwy i'w wneud, gobeithio bod hyn yn dechrau dod yn glir.

Crëwyd GLlTEM allan o bartneriaeth rhwng y llywodraeth a'r farnwriaeth annibynnol, ac mae popeth a wnawn yn atebol i'r ddau sefydliad. Yn fwy cyffredinol, rydym yn gweithio'n agos gyda defnyddwyr  proffesiynol a chyhoeddus y llysoedd - a'r rhai sy'n eu cynrychioli - i sicrhau bod y bobl sy'n defnyddio ein gwasanaethau yn greiddiol i’r ffordd yr ydym yn dylunio’r gwasanaethau hynny.

Dydyn ni ddim wedi lansio un gwasanaeth diwygiedig nad yw wedi cynnwys y bobl a fydd yn ei ddefnyddio a'u cynrychiolwyr. Er enghraifft, cyn i'n gwasanaeth ysgariad fod ar gael, cafodd ei brofi gan dros 1,000 o bobl mewn achosion go iawn a rhoddodd adborth pwysig iawn inni a oedd, o ganlyniad, yn ein galluogi i ddylunio’r gwasanaeth yn derfynol.

Rydym hefyd wedi cynnal dros 4,000 o gyfweliadau ymchwil ers i'r rhaglen ddechrau yn 2016. Mae hyn yn ein helpu i gynllunio a phrofi dulliau newydd, yn ogystal â deall gwahanol brofiadau y rhai sy’n defnyddio ein gwasanaethau cyn iddynt gael eu diwygio, tra byddant yn cael eu diwygio ac ar ôl iddynt gael eu diwygio. Ac rydym hefyd yn gweithio'n agos gyda nifer o elusennau, gan gynnwys Revolving Doors, i ddeall yr hyn sydd ei angen ar bobl a all gael trafferth – diwygio neu beidio – i gael mynediad at y system gyfiawnder.

Mae GLlTEM yn aml yn sôn am bwysigrwydd ymgysylltu â rhanddeiliaid. Beth ydych chi'n ei olygu wrth sôn am ymgysylltu?

Gall ymgysylltu olygu gwahanol bethau i wahanol bobl ar wahanol adegau. Bydd ei natur yn newid drwy gydol oes y prosiect neu’r rhaglen benodol. Mae ein hymgysylltiad yn perthyn i dri chategori eang.

Rydym yn rhannu gwybodaeth a diweddariadau yn rheolaidd, er enghraifft drwy ein digwyddiadau neu ein cylchlythyr. Wrth drafod gyda gwahanol grwpiau ymgysylltu, mae nifer o gynrychiolwyr proffesiynol cyfreithiol a chynrychiolwyr defnyddwyr cyhoeddus yn gallu  rhannu syniadau, gwybodaeth ac arbenigedd, y byddid yn eu colli, o bosib, fel arall, o ystyried newid mewn ffordd gibddall. Yn olaf, rydym yn cydweithio â defnyddwyr rheng flaen, gan roi'r cyfle iddynt brofi gwasanaethau newydd yn gynnar iawn yn eu datblygiad a rhoi adborth arnynt. Mae hyn yn cynnwys gwahodd rhanddeiliaid sydd ag arbenigedd a phrofiad penodol i weithio gyda'n timau prosiect fel rhan o'r broses ddatblygu 'ystwyth'.

Beth fyddwch chi’n ei ddweud am bryderon ynghylch lefelau annigonol o ymgynghori ffurfiol ar y rhaglen ddiwygio?

Cawsom ymgynghoriad cyhoeddus llawn ar ddechrau'r rhaglen, a oedd yn nodi dull cyffredinol y Llywodraeth o ddiwygio.

Mae'n bwysig cofio, mai dim ond un math o ymgysylltu yw ymgynghoriadau ffurfiol a'u bod yn cael eu cynnal o dan amgylchiadau penodol. Rydym eisiau deall yn llawn yr effaith y bydd ein cynigion yn ei chael ar ddefnyddwyr y llysoedd. Felly, er enghraifft, rydym bob amser yn ymgynghori pan fyddwn yn symud gwaith y llys allan o'r ardal leol gan ein bod yn gwybod y caiff hyn effaith ar y siwrneiau y bydd defnyddwyr yn gorfod eu gwneud i gyrraedd y llys. Ar y llaw arall, os mai effaith gyfyngedig sydd i'r cynigion – er enghraifft, uno dau lys yn yr un dref – byddai ymgynghoriad ffurfiol yn fiwrocrataidd ac yn ddiangen.

Un o'r heriau mawr sy'n ein hwynebu yw’r angen i siarad â'r un grwpiau o bobl am lawer o wahanol agweddau ar y rhaglen ddiwygio. Gwyddom y gall hyn fod yn rhwystredig ac yn ddwys o ran adnoddau, ac rydym yn gwneud ein gorau i gydlynu hyn yn well a tharo'r cydbwysedd cywir.

Rydych wedi sôn am yr ymgysylltu sydd ar y gweill. Gyda phwy ydych chi'n gweithio?

Mae pob un o'n prosiectau diwygio yn cynnwys rhanddeiliaid sy'n berthnasol iddynt. Gallai hyn gynnwys cyfuniad o gwmnïau cyfreithwyr preifat i brofi gwasanaeth i weithwyr proffesiynol cyfreithiol, megis profiant ar-lein, neu awdurdod lleol i gynllunio ein prosesau a'n systemau cyfraith gyhoeddus newydd. Rydym hefyd yn gweithio gydag elusennau megis Cymorth i Ddioddefwyr neu Rape Crisis i'n helpu i ddeall profiadau dioddefwyr a thystion. Ac, wrth gwrs, adrannau eraill y llywodraeth, fel yr Adran Waith a Phensiynau.

Aelodau’r cyhoedd yw’r rhan fwyaf o ddigon o’r bobl yr ydym yn cysylltu â hwy. Y llynedd, defnyddiodd dros 100,000 o bobl ein gwasanaethau digidol – er bod defnyddio gwasanaethau 'gweithredol', profi’r gwasanaethau a chael adborth arnynt gan ddefnyddwyr go iawn yn parhau i lywio'r ffordd y maent yn datblygu. Rydym hefyd yn cyfarfod yn rheolaidd â chynrychiolwyr o grwpiau rhanddeiliaid gwahanol – gweithwyr proffesiynol cyfreithiol, elusennau sy'n cynrychioli defnyddwyr cyhoeddus y llysoedd, y cyfryngau, partneriaid cyfiawnder troseddol ac ati, i rannu ein cynlluniau a gwrando ar adborth.

Sut gall pobl y tu allan i GLlTEM wybod gyda phwy yr ydych yn gweithio a chael yr wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am y rhaglen ddiwygio?

Mae angen i ni barhau i wella sut rydym yn gwneud ein holl randdeiliaid yn ymwybodol o'r ffordd rydym yn gweithio gydag eraill. Dydyn ni ddim bob amser wedi gwneud hyn yn gyson. Nid ein bod ni heb ymgysylltu â phobl, ond mae'n wir dweud y gallen ni ei gydlynu ac adrodd yn ôl yn well. Ym mis Tachwedd y llynedd, ac mewn ymateb i'r Pwyllgor Cyfrifon Cyhoeddus, nodwyd ein dull o ymgysylltu â rhanddeiliaid allanol. Mae llawer o'r hyn y dywedasom y byddem yn ei wneud eisoes ar y gweill. Ond rydym yn gwybod bod gennym fwy i'w wneud, yn enwedig o ran esbonio i'r gymuned ehangach o randdeiliaid - a'r miloedd o bobl sydd heb gymryd rhan yn uniongyrchol - sut rydym wedi ystyried adborth eu cyfoedion neu eu cynrychiolwyr.

I gael trosolwg cyffredinol, byddwn yn annog pobl i'n dilyn ni ar Twitter a chofrestru i gael gwybod am ein digwyddiadau, ein cylchlythyrau a'n blogiau ar GOV.UK.

 

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2 comments

  1. Comment by Mike Hughes posted on

    Well I'm going to have to come straight back and, as a representative at social security tribunals in the North West for 33 years, say that my experience bears little resemblance to what has been presented above. TUGs which ought to take place quarterly barely occur on an annual basis and have been used to "tell" rather than engage. They are a depressing and dispiriting experience. Several opportunities to become involved were discussed but then didn't make the minutes and didn't get followed up on. HMCTS only circulates the minutes to attendees rather than all interested parties so the distribution is erratic and often hopelessly out of date.

    I have had zero follow-up communication in the past 12 months and when I signed up for one aspect of this involving talking to appellants and reps. I was dropped immediately from further communication as soon as it became apparent my interest was as a representative and the interest in the views of reps. was not real.

    The approach is summed up beautifully by the phrase

    "We had a full, public consultation right at the start of the programme, which set out the government’s broad approach to reform.".

    The idea that a consultation is not about setting about a broad approach still seems to wholly escape HMCTS. Indeed the broad approach described was anything but. It was prescriptive and remains so. It's easy and very common to claim "buy in" after setting out such a broad but prescriptive approach. Much less easy to engage on the detail and it's this latter aspect where HMCTS consistently falls over. I am at a loss to recall a single positive change as a consequence of a TUG meeting in the past 3 decades and I think it's entirely foreseeable that the exclusion of representatives and those with technical and practical knowledge will have consequences "broadly" in line with the outcome of far too many government IT projects.

    So, sorry, I'm afraid the criticism referenced is absolutely valid. There are numerous entirely foreseeable issues with continuous online resolution for example but it became clear during the recent webinar that the lack of engagement meant that matters such as accessibility weren't even on the radar (certainly the panel didn't seem to have any knowledge of any work being done) and engagement is something that someone somewhere has told managers is happening; boxes are being ticked etc. On the ground it's not in my view happening at all and nor does there seem any will to make it happen.

    • Replies to Mike Hughes>

      Comment by HMCTS Communications Team posted on

      Dear Mr Hughes,

      Thank you for taking the time to send us your thoughts on the blog. We really appreciate all feedback and comments.

      We will respond to you in more detail via email to address the concerns you’ve raised.

      Kind regards